Friday, March 24, 2006

Melbourne Art

I've mentioned graffiti [and Melbourne's attempt to clean it up] here before, and have included a link to Banksy, whose sometimes breathtakingly witty and political stencilling has both inspired and amused the anti-establishment part of my character.

I can understand the arguments against graffiti and have some sympathy with them, but there's a real beauty in some of the stuff [mindlessly repetitive "tagging" is both boring and irritating, to my mind]. I also really struggle with "zero tolerance" attitudes against things, especially when there is a real alternative - such as sanctioned graffiti-permitted areas in this case.

Yes, probably part of me is simply kicking against the pricks [you mean you didn't realise that that was from the Bible? Shame on you!], but I think it's also pretty darned pragmatic. Let's face it, zero tolerance is usually used as a political statement for the Daily Mail reader mindset, but rarely works. Why? Because it gets people's backs up, is often ill thought out and practically unenforceable. But it makes a great headline and the powers that be are "seen to be doing something". Even when they're not.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that The Guardian has today combined the two here, as Banksy comments on Melbourne's street artists and the recent Commonwealth Games "clean-up" [or throwing a ton of money down the drain, depending on your viewpoint].


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